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Xconomy Awards San Diego 2019

Xconomy Awards San Diego 2019

The calm before the (fun) storm on May 29, 2019, at the first-ever Xconomy Awards in San Diego at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.

Photo by Karras Photography

Finding Friends, Networking

Finding Friends, Networking

People mingle outdoors at Estancia La Jolla before the start of the Xconomy Awards San Diego program.

Photo by Karras Photography

Life Sciences Community Comes Together

Life Sciences Community Comes Together

A group from Daré Bioscience attends in support of CEO Sabrina Martucci Johnson, who was a finalist in the CEO category as well as an emcee.

Photo by Karras Photography

An Opportunity to Celebrate

An Opportunity to Celebrate

Hilda Mwangi, senior manager for site engagement at Takeda California, chats inside the La Jolla Ballroom during the awards gala.

Photo by Karras Photography

Settling Down for Dinner

Settling Down for Dinner

The San Diego sunshine is hard to leave, but groups of guests began sitting down to eat as the program prepared to kick off.

Photo by Karras Photography

Anticipating Award Winner Announcements

Anticipating Award Winner Announcements

Coworkers and friends came together to celebrate their achievements and those of others in the life sciences community.

Photo by Karras Photography

Dinnertime Begins

Dinnertime Begins

About 250 guests packed a ballroom at Estancia and settled down to dinner as the program got underway.

Photo by Karras Photography

Xconomy Awards Awaiting Presentation

Xconomy Awards Awaiting Presentation

Winners were recognized in nine distinct categories.

Photo by Karras Photography

Xconomy's Greg Huang

Xconomy's Greg Huang

Huang, Xconomy's editor in chief, references the site's 2008 launch in San Diego, and notes how much the region has achieved since then.

Photo by Karras Photography

Sabrina Martucci Johnson and Magda Marquet

Sabrina Martucci Johnson and Magda Marquet

The evening's emcees, Martucci Johnson (left), CEO of Daré Bioscience, who was a finalist in the CEO category, and Marquet, co-founder and co-CEO of Alma Life Sciences, prepare to reveal the winners and present them with their awards.

Photo by Karras Photography

Paul Laikind, Magda Marquet

Paul Laikind, Magda Marquet

ViaCyte, led by Paul Laikind, was one of two winners of the Big Idea award. The company's technology has the potential to become a functional cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Photo by Karras Photography

Big Idea Winners, Paul Laikind and Gene Yeo

Big Idea Winners, Paul Laikind and Gene Yeo

ViaCyte, represented by CEO Laikind, and Yeo of UC San Diego, both won in the Big Idea category.

Photo by Karras Photography

Gene Yeo, Friends

Gene Yeo, Friends

Yeo's Big Idea award recognized his work on a new way to use CRISPR gene editing.

Photo by Karras Photography

Secret Weapon Winner, Jessica Corson

Secret Weapon Winner, Jessica Corson

Corson, of Mirati Therapeutics, was recognized for her work in crafting complex business deals.

Photo by Karras Photography

Joe Smith, Reflexion Health CEO

Joe Smith, Reflexion Health CEO

Smith holds the trophy he received after the company he heads was named the winner of the Digital Trailblazer category.

Photo by Karras Photography

Tanya Villalpando, Alexandria Real Estate Equities

Tanya Villalpando, Alexandria Real Estate Equities

Villalpando reveals the Commitment to Diversity award winner. Alexandria was the event's platinum sponsor.

Photo by Karras Photography

Silvia Mah, Commitment to Diversity Winner

Silvia Mah, Commitment to Diversity Winner

Mah, (right), was recently named president of the longtime local accelerator Connect. She has also started and run a number of organizations devoted to advancing women in business.

Photo by Karras Photography

Silvia Mah, Tanya Villalpando

Silvia Mah, Tanya Villalpando

Mah and Villalpando, an assistant design project manager at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, celebrate Mah's win in the Commitment to Diversity category.

Photo by Karras Photography

Ivor Royston, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Ivor Royston, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Royston, a founder of San Diego's first biotech, Hybritech, spoke about his decades-long career in biotech and his belief in the importance of collaboration in the life sciences community.

Photo by Karras Photography

Cheers With Friends

Cheers With Friends

Royston and Marquet clink champagne flutes before he addresses attendees.

Photo by Karras Photography

Jennifer Kinsbruner Bush, Organovo

Jennifer Kinsbruner Bush, Organovo

Kinsbruner Bush, general counsel at Organovo, holds the company's Innovation at the Intersection award. The company is working to produce 3D-printed living tissue to tide over people in need of transplants.

Photo by Karras Photography

Jeanne Loring, an X of the Year Winner

Jeanne Loring, an X of the Year Winner

Marquet congratulates Loring, of the Scripps Research Institute, on her X of the Year award: Stem Cell Pioneer of the Year. Two X of the Year finalists were named winners.

Photo by Karras Photography

Jeanne Loring, Stem Cell Pioneer of the Year

Jeanne Loring, Stem Cell Pioneer of the Year

Loring's lab focuses on pluripotent stem cells.

Photo by Karras Photography

Evofem Biosciences, Turnaround Story of the Year

Evofem Biosciences, Turnaround Story of the Year

Evofem is developing a hormone-free contraceptive product. The company redid clinical trials after receiving a rejection from the FDA in connection with previous data, and is now poised to again ask the FDA for approval of the experimental contraceptive.

Photo by Karras Photography

Bob Kain, LunaDNA CEO

Bob Kain, LunaDNA CEO

LunaDNA won the Startup award for its efforts to develop a community-owned database of health information.

Photo by Karras Photography

Kevin Gorman, CEO Award Winner

Kevin Gorman, CEO Award Winner

Gorman has been head of Neurocrine Biosciences since 2008. Under his leadership, the company brought to market the first-ever FDA-approved medicine for tardive dyskinesia, a severe side effect of some psychiatric drugs.

Photo by Karras Photography

Neurocrine Biosciences Gathers

Neurocrine Biosciences Gathers

The Neurocrine team celebrates its leader's recognition with the CEO award.

Photo by Karras Photography

Award Winners Together

Award Winners Together

Award winners come together for a group photo with the evening's emcees.

Photo by Karras Photography

Post-Program Catching Up

Post-Program Catching Up

Friends and colleagues chat after the award ceremony wraps up.

Photo by Karras Photography

Collegial Community

Collegial Community

Although the formal program concluded in about an hour, many attendees stayed afterward to mingle with colleagues and celebrate together.

Photo by Karras Photography

Lilly Grossman, X of the Year Finalist

Lilly Grossman, X of the Year Finalist

Grossman (in blue), who was a finalist in the X of the Year category as Inspiration of the Year, is a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. She recently graduated from college with a degree in political science.

Photo by Karras Photography

Xconomy San Diego — 

We at Xconomy were thrilled to see such a great turnout at our first-ever awards gala in San Diego. About 250 people from the local life sciences community filled a ballroom at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa (see photos above).

As Greg Huang, Xconomy’s editor in chief, said in his opening remarks before a sold-out crowd on May 29: How far the region has come since Xconomy first launched here, back in 2008!

Top scientists, CEOs, and many others from across the life sciences ecosystem came out to celebrate the winners and finalists. The atmosphere was friendly, fun, and anticipatory as attendees watched the emcees, Sabrina Martucci Johnson (CEO of Daré Bioscience) and Magda Marquet (co-founder and co-CEO of Alma Life Sciences), open the envelopes and reveal the winners.

In accepting his Lifetime Achievement award, Ivor Royston (who co-founded Hybritech, San Diego’s first biotech, and is currently CEO of Viracta Therapeutics) reflected on his long and varied career, and highlighted the importance of teamwork in life science achievements.

Thanks to Karras Photography for taking the photographs in the slideshow. We’d also like to thank our sponsors: platinum sponsor Alexandria Real Estate Equities; gold sponsor Neurocrine Biosciences; silver sponsors CG Life, MedPace, ResMed, and RiverVest; and event partner California Life Sciences Association.

Read more about the finalists and winners here.